Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as the diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is one of the most common health problems faced by pregnant women and usually develops in the middle of the pregnancy, between the 24th and 28th weeks when hormones interfere with the mother’s ability to use insulin. As the pregnancy progresses, the insulin resistance worsens and blood sugar levels increase further.
There are many risks associated with diabetes during and after pregnancy for both the mother and child. The risk of Cesarean section, pre-eclampsia and perineal trauma is increased for the mother during pregnancy.
“Diabetes mellitus may be effectively managed by appropriate meal planning, increased physical activity and properly-instituted insulin treatment”, points Dr Rajiv Kovil, MBBS (Mumbai), Consultant Diabetologist.
Tips for controlling diabetes during pregnancy include:
• Meals – cut down sweets, eats three small meals and one to three snacks a day, maintain proper mealtimes, and include balanced fiber intake in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.
• Increased physical activity - walking, swimming/aquaerobics, etc.
• Monitor blood sugar level frequently, doctors may ask to check the blood glucose more often than usual.
• The blood sugar level should be below 95 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/l) on awakening, below 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/l) one hour after a meal and below 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol/l) two hours after a meal.
• Each time when checking the blood sugar level, keep a proper record of the results and present to the health care team for evaluation and modification of the treatment. If blood sugar levels are above targets, a perinatal diabetes management team may suggest ways to achieve targets.
• Many may need extra insulin during pregnancy to reach their blood sugar target. Insulin is not harmful for the baby.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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